How to spend 48 hours in Berlin
Once a city divided, the united Berlin is one of the coolest, modern cities in Europe. These days, it's known for its irreverent attitude, and 48 hour nightlife. Germany's capital is big on culture, good food and, of course, beer, which makes it a good option for a weekend break. Here's just a few ideas to inspire you to discover Berlin for yourself.
1. Visit the inspiring art mile
Once a symbol of oppression, the East Side Gallery has transformed the last remaining bit of the Berlin Wall still standing, into an open air art installation.When the wall fell in 1989 it was turned into a giant mural, with more than hundred artists from 21 different countries adding their vision to it.It underwent restoration in 2009 as some of the colours had weathered and it is free to visit.C/O Berlin is also an interesting photography gallery to visit, and costs around 10 Euros.
2. Learn more about the city's history
The Jewish Museum has two thousand years of German-Jewish history on display and it’s well worth a look.Particularly powerful is the 24m high Holocaust Tower, an unheated concrete silo, representing the helplessness and persecution of the Jews during the war.You'll also find Checkpoint Charlie , the historic crossing point from East to West Berlin, and where Allied and Soviet tanks famously faced-off during the crisis of 1961.If you're looking for somewhere to eat in the area, how about the rumoured favourite of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, Borchardt on Französische Straße.The restaurant mixes traditional German and French cuisines.
On Cora-Berliner-Straße, you’ll find 2,711 concrete plinths of different heights. Finished in 2004, the Holocaust Memorial is a powerful and sobering reminder of the horrors inflicted on the Jews during the war.
3. See Berlin's most majestic monument
Right next to the Holocaust Memorial is the Brandenburg Gate, perhaps the most famous symbol of the tumultuous history of Berlin.Napoleon stole the famous statue from the top of it when he defeated the Prussians, however it was returned only ten years later when the Prussians made their comeback.Sixty percent of the city was levelled during The Second World War and even the Brandenburg Gate didn’t escape unharmed, with its full restoration only finishing in 2005.
4. Begin your Berlin experience with a night out
There are few bars as "unique" as Das Klo on Leibnizstasse - the name of the bar translates as ‘The Toilet’.The toilet seat on the front door squirts you as you walk in and out and the tables give you the occasional electric shock.You've probably heard of Berghain, the most famous club in Berlin, however it isn't always the easiest place to get into, so it's good to have a back-up plan.Asphalt (Mohrenstraße 30) plays upbeat, feel-good house while Watergate overlooks the river Spree and the beautiful double-decker Oberbaum Bridge, and goes for more minimal techno.If you're going out clubbing, you want to head out late, nothing really gets going until 2am.
5. Try some Berlin parklife
The relatively modern Gorlitzer Park is the hub where the Kreuzbergians hang out - it was once a train station and depot.While you're on Gorlitzer Strasse, make sure you try some of the cool cafes with outdoor seating. We recommend The Nest which has a modern Mediterranean menu.Berlin also has the second largest Botanical Gardens in the world.Visit the huge greenhouses then find a quiet place to sit and hang out (as long as you don't mind the sound of croaking frogs every now and again). There's also a cafe with a terrace, if you want to sit and have a coffee or an ice cream.
6. Visit an abandoned airfield
Tempelhofer Feld was an airport until it shut in 2008 and now the runways and airfield have become a huge park.It's open from sunrise to sunset, and you'll find lots of people flying kites, riding bikes around the runways (you can hire them there) and roller blading.It's also got a barbecue and picnic area if you fancy eating alfresco.
7. Make a pilgrimage to Bowie's building
David Bowie's apartment, at Hauptstrasse 155, was where he lived in the mid-to-late 1970s and is a popular spot with fans of the British singer.Bowie, who passed away in 2016, wrote some of his most creative works during his time in Berlin, including most famously, "Heroes".
8. See the animals being fed
Berlin Zoo is the oldest in Germany and has established itself as one of the most visited in the world.You'll see all the usual favourites here, including polar bears, hippos and elephants.
9. Then try the Berlin beer
Schluessenkrug has a large beer garden to relax in and it's handily just round the corner from the zoo.Berlin also has a major craft beer scene, and there are several micro-breweries to visit if you want to try some bespoke Berlin beer.
10. Or a cocktail with a view
Fernsehturm, or The ‘Tele-asparagus’ as the locals refer to it, is a 368m TV Tower, so-called because it looks like.....We recommended heading to the cocktail bar at the top for twilight.But be aware as you sip your Mojito, the bar spins around once every 30 minutes if you think you're only imagining the room is moving.
11. Enjoy some cafe culture
Like most European cities, Berlin has its own distinct cafe culture.If you like your neighbourhoods to be creative, head to Kreuzberg and check out the cafes, restaurants, galleries and independent shops there.
12. You don't need to plan
We sent our first Spontaneity Champion, 28-year-old Jamie Bezencenet, to Berlin with just a few hours notice to see what he could discover.Along with his girlfriend Pru, Jamie spent the two days sightseeing and partying in the depths of winter - check out the video below for a flavour of 48 hours in Berlin.
There are some great deals to be found for flights to Berlin.It takes just under two hours to get there from London on a direct flight.You can also combine your flight with a hotel - check out our latest Berlin City Breaks.
We've got plenty of Berlin hotels to choose from if this has inspired you to stayWe've also got some Top Secret Hotels in Berlin to choose from, you can get up to 35% discount and you find out the hotel's name and exact location once you're booked it.
Have you been to Berlin?
We'd love to hear your insider tips for spending the weekend in Germany's capital. Let us know your recommendations by leaving a comment below.